Classics professor Philip Freeman's 'Alexander the Great' published by Simon & Schuster

Jan. 10, 2011

Simon & Shuster publishing company has announced the release of "Alexander the Great" the latest book by Philip Freeman, professor of classics at Luther.

Freeman's fascinating biography of one of history's best-known military leaders is now available in bookstores nationwide and at all popular website book vendors.

Freeman's "Alexander the Great" is the first authoritative biography that tells the story of the life of the great conqueror. The celebrated Macedonian king is one of the most enduring figures in history. He was a general of such skill and renown that for two thousand years other great leaders studied his strategy and tactics.

Alexander was born into the royal family of Macedonia, the kingdom that would soon rule over Greece. Tutored as a boy by Aristotle, Alexander had an inquisitive mind that would serve him well when he faced formidable obstacles during his military campaigns. Shortly after taking command of the army, he launched an invasion of the Persian Empire, and continued his conquests as far south as the deserts of Egypt and as far east as the mountains of present-day Pakistan and the plains of India. Within a short time after Alexander's death at Babylon, his empire began to fracture.

Freeman's lively and authoritative biography describes Alexander's astonishing achievements and provides insight into the mercurial character of the great conqueror. Alexander could be petty and magnanimous, cruel and merciful, impulsive and farsighted. Above all, he was intensely competitive and could not tolerate losing. As Freeman explains, without Alexander, the influence of Greece on the ancient world would not have been as great as it was, even if his motivation was not to spread Greek culture for beneficial purposes but to unify his empire.

In a Booklist review, Jay Freeman writes, "Classics professor Freeman has written a compact biography that avoids the pitfalls of romanticizing or 'understanding' the personality of Alexander. It is a well-written, chronological narrative that allows Alexander's remarkable career and achievements to speak for themselves."

Freeman's new book has received favorable reviews by Kirkus Reviews as well as other authors including Barry Strauss, author of "The Spartacus War" and professor of history at Cornell University, who said "Lean, learned, and marked by good judgment on every page, Alexander the Great is also a roaring good yarn. Philip Freeman has the eye of someone who has walked in Alexander's footsteps, and he writes with grace and wisdom."

Adrian Goldsworthy, author of "Caesar: Life of a Colossus and Anthony and Cleopatra," who described the book as "fast paced and dramatic, much like Alexander himself, this is a splendid introduction into one of the most dramatic true stories of history."

Freeman holds the Orlando W. Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College. An internationally recognized specialist in Greek, Roman, medieval culture and Celtic studies, he is the author of "Julius Caesar" (Simon & Schuster, 2008); "The Philosopher and the Druids" (Simon & Schuster, 2006); "St. Patrick of Ireland" (Simon & Schuster, 2004); "War, Women, and Druids" (University of Texas Press, 2002); "The Galatian Language" (Mellen Press, 2001); and "Ireland and the Classical World" (University of Texas Press, 2001).

Before joining the classics department at Luther, Freeman taught at Boston University and Washington University. He has been a visiting scholar at the Harvard Divinity School, the American Academy in Rome, and the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C.

A frequent speaker and presenter, Freeman has given talks on the ancient world at the Smithsonian Institution and interviews on National Public Radio and Minnesota Public Television.

"Alexander the Great," Philip Freeman, Simon & Schuster, $30 hardcover, 416 pages, ISBN-13: 9781416592808

Philip Freeman, associate professor of classics